Compelling stories of perseverance, academic excellence, and inspiring community engagement will be highlighted during Brandon University’s Spring 2021 Convocation, which will feature six valedictorians.
With in-person gatherings unsafe due to the ongoing pandemic, and forbidden by public health orders, Convocation this year is being celebrated virtually. It includes the option for students to rent a traditional cap-and-gown outfit, opportunity for campus photos, and an enhanced parchment package that will be mailed to graduates afterward.
The main Convocation ceremony will be a pre-recorded video, released Thursday, May 27 at about 2 p.m., that will feature all the traditional elements of Convocation, including awards, honorary degrees, the official conferral of all degrees — including individual naming of all graduates — and speeches from the valedictorians. The video will be embedded online at BrandonU.ca/Convocation, where graduates, their friends and families, and members of the community can watch it at any time.
Six is the largest number of valedictorians in recent memory, with a typical Convocation featuring only two or three.
“Typically, we are limited to one valedictorian for each ceremony. However, now we are able to celebrate valedictorians from each faculty — and two from the Faculty of Health Studies, to include our Winnipeg campus,” said University Registrar Andrea McDaniel. “It is wonderful that we are able to expand Convocation this year and highlight even more of the inspiring stories and meaningful contributions our students bring to BU.”
Valedictorians come from as close as Brandon and Boissevain, and from as far as Manila and South Africa, but they all share a passion for excellence, are driven by a sense of purpose, and now also share the bonds they’ve built at BU while pursuing their education.
The Faculty of Arts valedictorian is Britney McNamee, who is graduating with combined Honours in Philosophy and Sociology. She was co-founder and co-president of BU’s Student Philosophy Association and plans to become a Professor of Ethics.
The Faculty of Education valedictorian is Nicole Turner, who was also her high school valedictorian and who has unwaveringly pursed a career in education while also being the student athletic therapist for the 2019–20 men’s Bobcats volleyball team.
In the Faculty of Health Studies, co-valedictorians are Margaret de Jager and Keisha Kaddu. De Jager was actively involved in World University Service and mental health research during her studies. Kaddu, a former university athlete, has a passion for mental health and is planning now to pursue a master’s degree.
The School of Music valedictorian is Carl Manuel. Raised by a music-loving family and surrounded by performances and concerts on a regular basis, he now wants to provide that same environment to young students as a music educator.
The Faculty of Science valedictorian is Jessica Li. She is graduating with an Honours degree in Chemistry with a minor in Math, and has maintained a GPA above 4.00 for her entire degree. She plans to take a year off before attending medical school.
Each valedictorian has an opportunity to address their fellow graduates from their faculty, and to provide words of wisdom as they move into their futures. These messages are included in the pre-recorded video that will be released tomorrow.
Valedictory speeches will be followed by an individual celebration of each graduate, one at a time. McDaniel will read out each name as it is featured on screen.
“All of us at Brandon University are tremendously proud of our graduates, and we know they will continue making us proud in the future as well,” McDaniel said. “It is a privilege for me to name every single one of them individually as we mark this peak in their academic journey.”
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